Fears over police anti-mask protest as Covid spikes

 ROME – Further spikes in coronavirus infections have sparked fears over an anti-facemask demonstration, in which police are taking part this weekend.

 Some 200 traffic police will gather in Piazza San Giovanni on Oct. 10 to protest a government decree that makes facemasks obligatory in open spaces.

 Italy imposed the outdoor mask mandate in an effort to curb infections after cases hit a five-month high.

 There were 4,458 new coronavirus infections recorded Thursday, exceeding 4,000 cases in a single day for the first time since mid-April.

 The country registered 22 Covid-related deaths Thursday, as against 31 the day before.

 The police union said members intend to protest peacefully against the continuous erosion of freedoms.

 "Without underestimating or minimizing the danger of a particularly aggressive form of flu, we believe that it cannot, nor should it be managed with the continuous daily repeated waiving of rights to freedom of an individual and workers or, even worse, with the introduction of new rules that are difficult to understand and come with heavy penalties,” the police union said in a statement.

 Those who flout mask rules face fines of up to 1,000 euros.

 Globally, in the last 24 hours there have been at least 338,779 new coronavirus cases – the highest recorded since the start of the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

 The previous daily record was recorded on Oct. 2 with 330,340 infections.

 The death rate worldwide in the last 24 hours was 5,514.